Books

You will probably want to obtain a couple of notebooks (to record some of your work) and a wild flower guide book (detailed key) for the region in which you live, in your own language. My favourite wild flower key, costs around €29 new.

Other books will be suggested in each module but are not required. You can see some of these here. With so much information available online, you will be able to find lots of useful additional material, without buying additional texts. That said, most of my apprentices do like to buy or borrow additional texts as they move along the course. I have accumulated a small library of beautiful herb and nature related texts over the years but this is certainly not required! Being able to correctly identify the plants and to actually experience how to work with them, is our primary focus.

My story

About the Tutor
Lynn Shore teaches people to use local herbs wisely, to forage sustainably and to harmonise with the rhythms of nature. She runs walks, talks and courses mainly in Amsterdam and teaches part time at an international school. Lynn has 20+ years experience working with herbs, has studied with American wise woman Susun Weed, Permaculture with Patrick Whitefield and Permaculture Visions, is mentored by Glennie Kindred. She is an OBOD Ovate and Master of Public Health (2010). Projects: Urbanherbology.org  (from 2010) and River of Herbs (from 2012). Lynn believes in lifelong learning and recently qualified in Social & Therapeutic Horticulture with Thrive UK.

Lynn's Urban Herbology apprenticeship courses began in 2011, in Amsterdam. Due to demand, this online/blended course now offers opportunities for connection, support and learning wherever you may live. She looks forward to journeying with you.



Crafting 8 – Herb Vinegars

I encourage you to focus on nourishing herbs. Why?

Nourishing herbs are generally considered to be the safest and may be taken by most people, in appropriate amounts for quite some time. I have included mainly nourishing herbs in this course. Even so, err on the side of caution and as with foods, don't rely too much on any one plant.

If taking a nourishing tonic, in quantity for some time (perhaps Stinging Nettle infusion daily), it is a good idea to stop and have a break after a maximum of 8 weeks. You may like to return to using it in time. I usually eat nourishing herbs and for infusions, I rotate them every two weeks or so. A few examples of nourishing herbs are: Hawthorn, Chocolate, Lime, Lemon balm, Ginger, Garlic, Dandelion, Burdock, Yellow dock and Astragalus.


How to Make Herb Infused Vinegar
Acid extracts of herbs.

Materials needed
Pasteurised apple cider vinegar*
Fresh herbs
Knife, chopping board
Sterile glass container with well fitting lid
Chopstick
Label

*other vinegar will also work but apple cider is preferable. I sometimes use Kombucha instead of vinegar.

One of my mixed wild herb vinegars. This one contains geranium, wild garlic, stinging nettle and deadnettle.

Method
[This is the same method as for making a tincture but use Apple Cider Vinegar in place of the spirits]

1. Chop up the fresh herbs and loosely pack them into the sterile glass jar.
2. Pour vinegar over the herbs, until the jar is full.
3. Prod gently with a chopstick, to release any air bubbles.
4. Top up again with some more vinegar.
5. Seal with the lid and label the jar. It is best to label the jar and the lid, in case the vinegar leaks out and wipes off the lower label.
6. Leave the herbs in the vinegar only for 2-6 weeks. After this time they may become moldy.

Herb vinegar usually stores well for up to one year. Check regularly for mold growth as vinegars are more susceptible to it than oils. A jelly-like vinegar mother may form at the bottom of the jar and this is acceptable. Mold looks blue/white/grey and tends to float on the top of the contents of opened containers of herb vinegar. This is not desirable and should be removed or the whole vinegar discarded. Vinegar mothers are living cultures of the microbes which convert fruit juice or wine into vinegar. They tend to be vinegar coloured and bounce around the bottom of the vinegar.

Sage vinegar makes a great hair rinse and can be soothing to the skin.

Uses
Herbal Vinegars made from pleasant tasting herbs can be used as salad dressing. They are also an ingredient in Oxymels which we look at later.  I like to take about a tablespoon per day, as a salad/greens dressing or used in green leafy vegetable cooking. There are many other uses for herb infused vinegars such as hair rinses and to soothe skin.

Chickweed may be more difficult for novices to identify but most gardeners know lavender. Here are both, growing in my pavement garden.

Suggested herbs
Aromatics such as Sage, Tarragon, Rosemary and Lavender and mineral rich herbs such as Chickweed, Stinging nettle and Burdock. Each year I make sure to set up a wild garlic vinegar also. It has a very strong taste and aroma.

Wild garlic. If it doesn't smell strongly of garlic, it probably is another plant.

Activity
When you have tried setting up a herbal vinegar, post a comment to the crafting forum to say what you used and how you found the process.


Jump to Crafting 9

Foraging 1 – Ethical Foraging Rules

Green hazelnuts, harvested from the edge of a football field.

By the end of this unit you will:
- Understand what foraging is.
- Know the 7 Urban Herbology rules of ethical foraging.
- Be able to locate a list of endangered plants in your area.
- Know if it is legal to forage in your locality.

Please download the unit worksheet, ready to fill in as you work through this unit.
You may also like to listen to the audio version of the unit text.

Audio to accompany Foraging 1

So what is foraging?
Foraging is searching for and gathering wild food resources.

It is not a competitive sport. This may sound obvious but many people who join my walks and workshops at first feel that they must learn everything in one go. They worry that if they cannot successfully name every plant they find, they will have failed in some way. How far from the truth!

Foraging simply is the acquisition of food from the wild.
Foraging is your birth rite. It is available to us all and I believe that it should be an enjoyable, safe activity which we share with friends and family rather than guarding as a secret. Just as we learned how apples and strawberries look and taste different during childhood, we can learn the difference between dandelion and burdock now.  We can gradually learn what tastes good, what doesn't, what is safe and what is poisonous. We can learn this by trial and error but it is safer and faster to use some foraging rules and tips.

It doesn't matter where you are on your foraging path. You may forage regularly, occasionally or this may be a whole new world for you. This is your path and what you decide to learn, forage and eat, is your choice.


Ethical Foraging Rules

Over the years I have built up the following set of foraging rules. Other foragers will have other rules and I am sure that you will have questions about some of these but they are a good place to start. Above all, be considerate, careful and moderate whether harvesting from your own plants or those growing in public spaces. I made up the (not very catchy) mnemonic ALCLES to help people learn my foraging rules but if you think of a better one, please do let me know!


ACLES - Foragers should be...

  • Accurate
  • Light
  • Clean
  • Legal
  • Enriching
  • Safe

Accurate Harvest

Feverfew (Tancetum parthenium) NL: Moederkruid. An acquired taste!

Be 110% certain of identification before harvesting. Use a guide book to identify plants. Practice this skill as it is challenging at first. Learn the features of the main plant families. Perhaps challenge yourself to identify one plant (or family) every time you go out for a weekend walk. Use a loop lens (jewelers lens) to help get an accurate ID, but even a simple children's hand lens can help.

There is a lot to know about each plant. When learning about a new one, get to know the area where it usually lives and find out about it's look-a-likes. Learn the poisonous plants in your area and look out for them too. Which plants are endangered in your area? Perhaps you can grow the plant and get to know it intimately. Learn all you can about it. Learn how to use any harvested parts before you pick them. Do certain animals depend on the plant? What impact do your foraging plants have on the local soil? Is it really appropriate to pick any of the plant at all? These are all valid and helpful questions to remind yourself of regularly.

Cuckoo Pint

Start by focusing on herbs that you are very familiar with (perhaps Rosemary/Rozemarijn, Sage/Salie, Blackberry/Bramen or Dandelion/Paardenbloem) and use at least two good field guides to ensure correct identification. Foraging books are often good for suggesting how to use the plants but should not be relied on for ID purposes. Your foraging guides should be in your language and should be written about the area where you want to forage.  Identify plants at the harvesting location and check again when you get home. Never prep and cook foraged plants without double checking their identity.

Light Harvest

Magnolia. Just one petal is enough to make a delicious pot of infused honey.

Spread your harvest. Pick very, very sparingly (take less than 10% of a plant). Choose areas where your plant grows in abundance, in overgrowth. Select only very healthy looking plants. I don’t harvest roots or bark (unless from recently felled trees) and I don't harvest annuals. Annuals grow from a seed and flower in the same year. Then they die. If harvested, there will be no seed for next year. Root harvesting generally kills the whole plant and it makes a mess in the city.

Biennials grow from seed one year and tend to flower and set seed the next year. Then they die. I avoid harvesting most biennials except for Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata, NL: Look-zonder-look). I find it easy to harvest a single leaf from this plant without preventing it from growing, flowering and seeding.

Harvesting lightly helps conserve the health of the plant, its appearance and the creatures which it supports. Take time before you start to do this. When I find an edible plant species for the first time, I often take a year or more before feeling confident enough to pick it. It is hard to identify plants without flowers and it is good to watch them through a whole year before trusting your identification. Of course some plants are easier to ID than others. Never strip all the leaves, berries or whichever part you are interested in, from a plant, however tempting. Take only a little from each plant, leave plenty and avoid harming plants by rough picking. Leave the plant looking untouched when you walk away.

Clean Harvest

Dog in plants.

All food can be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and organic and inorganic residues. Contaminated fruit and vegetables kill many people every year. Contamination can occur before or after harvest, in transit, in storage, and in preparation. Wild food is no different. Beware polluted soil, air and plants. Some plants accumulate heavy metals. Bug free areas are concerning, as are unusual shaped leaves. Manicured green areas and sterile pavement cracks are also areas to avoid. All these signal the use of pesticides. I avoid plants growing under power lines and use my instinct in addition to all of this. When harvested, clean it well. Harvest above dog-pee height when possible, avoid obvious areas of pollution. Many city councils now have policies of not using chemical fertilizers or plant pest control sprays but this is not always the case.

There are unwelcome forms of pollution in both urban and rural areas; fertilisers, animal waste, chemicals, engine fumes and garbage being just a few. Avoid harvesting where pollution is highly likely, such as along busy roadsides, railway verges, building sites, non-organic farmland and industrial zones. Look out for clean, untreated planting areas, away from busy roads. I find that the best urban foraging grounds are usually within large green spaces and parks. It often helps to pick from as high as you can reach, this can minimise collecting harvests which have been soiled by passing people and animals, though it will still require proper cleaning. Avoid any material which looks dirty, unhealthy or unusual.

When harvesting near clean free flowing water, only collect plant parts which have not been submerged. Harmful waterborne parasites can easily transfer to humans when affected plants are eaten. Never harvest from still water. Whenever you harvest, allow time and space for bugs to crawl out from the plants at home. I lay my harvest out on a white teatowel for ten minutes. This encourages many bugs to leave. Wash your harvest under running clean water.

Legal Harvesting

Hoary plantain (Plantago media) NL: Ruige weegbree. Endangered - Do not pick!

Foragers need to consider local laws. They should also consider what is morally acceptable.  Harvesting flowers takes nectar from insects and reduces seed. Trespassing and stealing do not give foragers a good name. If you really want something from someone else's land then ask and you may be surprised by the response. Don’t pick what was deliberately planted. It can be tempting to pick ripe fruit and herbs whilst passing private street gardens but it is so sad for the owners when they see their tended fruit disappear. In the UK all wild flowers are protected. In NL foraging is not legal. What are the rules where you live? It is wise to check local policy and to find out the legal position on foraging from local public spaces. Council ecology teams are usually easy to contact and should be able to explain the local situation.

Juniper - an endangered plant in the Netherlands.

Foragers are a diverse group with varied personal scruples but whatever the rules, we should remember that everywhere belongs to someone. I often feel like the whole of Amsterdam is my garden and cannot imagine why I shouldn't carefully pick a leaf from a certain place. But I must respect other people's boundaries and aim not to annoy others. I become sad when I see that foragers have stripped all the hips from my favourite rosebushes. I don't want others to feel the same way about my foraging. I also encourage you to be discrete. Even if foraging is allowed in a location, there is no harm in being subtle.

The Red List
Here is a link to the full Dutch red list for you. This page also leads you to the red lists for different animal species. A selection of the plants are listed here:

Juniper - Juniperus
Wormwood - Artemisia absinthum
Lady's mantle (many wild varieties) - Alchemilla spp.
Betony - Stachys officinalis
Gallium sylvaticum - looks like Lady's bedstraw
Marshmallow - Althaea officinalis
Gorse - Ulex europeaus
Wild large thyme - Thymus pulegioides
Creeping thyme - Thymus praecox
Wild thyme - Thymus vulgaris
Primula - Primula veris
Primrose - Primula vulgaris
Dog violet - Viola canina
Small valerian - Valeriana dioica
Allium oleraceum - type of wild garlic
Vaccinium uliginosum - type of blueberry
Hoary ribwort - Plantago media
Small lungwort - Pulmonaria montana
Spanish sorrel - Rumex scutatus
Wild sedums (some types Sedum spp.)
Wild thistle (some types)
Arnica montana - Arnica
Rosa villosa - type of wild rose
Catnip (in wild) - Nepeta cataria
Pulsatilla - Pulsatilla vulgaris
Some Clovers (Trifolium spp.).

Enriching Harvest


Elder (NL: Vlier) rooted cutting.

Leave the foraging area better than you found it. I often sow seeds, plant cuttings and clean up litter where I harvest. This is nice for the environment and in turn gives me better foraging grounds. It is also lovely to bring on rare plants at home to later plant outside. Of course these must be ethically sourced. Perhaps talk to the head gardener at your local park about locally rare plants. I plant Elder (Sambucus nigra, NL: Vlier) in many local places. It is easy to grow, produces a wealth of foraging material and is great for wildlife.

Safe Harvest

Ginkgo biloba: Fallen fruit from city trees. Seeds within are edible, after lots of careful preparation.

I have talked about safety already above but it is worth thinking about again. As well as being careful when selecting your foraging locations and making sure you are targeting the correct plants, do ensure your plants are clean before eating and that you label them before storing. Keep them away from children and never store poisonous plants anywhere that your unsuspecting family could find.  It is best to label plants at the collection site, each plant in a different bag. Plants can wilt and change appearance significantly on the journey home. Eat the plants whilst they are in top condition.

(09m10s until end of video) - How NOT to harvest wild garlic and HOW TO harvest it correctly

Assessed Tasks
a) Post a comment in the Foraging forum, saying where you live and telling us a little about the foraging situation there.
Is foraging legal there?
Is it popular?
Is it illegal but tolerated?
Do foragers get in to trouble if caught?
What is the general situation?

b) When you have completed the unit worksheet, please send an electronic copy to your tutor for marking and feedback.

Move on to Foraging 2 when you are ready.


Crafting – Welcome

Chopped Feverfew.

This Welcome Unit aims to:
Introduce the contents of the Urban Herbology Crafting module and outline how learning to craft with herbs can be very empowering. Also, the type of equipment that you will need for this module and the need for a healthy respect for herbs will be introduced. This welcome unit also explains how to work through the Crafting module.

After reading this unit you should be able to:
- State the main topic areas which this module covers.
- State how your work for this module will be assessed.
- Organise your personal notes and assignments for this module.
- Name two household items which can be used for herbal crafting.
- State a couple of ways in which holistic herbal crafting empowers us.
- List three reasons why herbs should always be treated with respect.

Read through the unit notes.
You may also like to listen to the welcome unit audio.

In the Crafting Module you will learn:
- About the history of herbalism.
- How to source herbs to make preparations.
- About the safely, ethics and legality of making herbal preparations.
- How to create herbal preparations such as infusions, tinctures, oxymels, creams, poultices and lozenges.
- How to create a herbal medicine chest.
- Herbal first aid for common issues.

Module organisation
There are 31 units in the Crafting module.

You will see that the units are visually organised in blocks of five units. We suggest that you aim to complete each green block (so five units) per two months. This will help you to complete the module within about one year - if that is your target.

Assessment of your Crafting work
At the end of each unit in this module, there are tasks to complete. Some of these are optional tasks, which you may like to complete. Others are clearly indicated as Assessed Tasks. Your responses to the Assessed Tasks need to be shared with your tutor for marking and feedback.

There are four points in the Crafting module, where you will only be able to progress to the next units, when the previous unit assessments have been successfully completed and marked by your tutor. This is to ensure that you have understood the earlier work.

Course Certificate
To qualify for your Urban Herbology Holistic Herbal Crafting certificate, you need to :
1. Work through each of the Crafting units and successfully complete all of the Assessed Tasks. These must be completed and marked as a pass by your tutor.
2. Submit a summary to your tutor, of how your journey through the Crafting module has impacted you. Your summary does not need to be very long but it needs to show what you have gained from this module. It can be in several forms (short report, poetry, drawing with annotations etc).

How to share Assessed Tasks
Some of your assessments are shared with your tutor though the Crafting Forum and other assessments will be shared with your tutor via email.

Please ensure that each task states the unit number and name, when you send it through.

We strongly advise you to keep a backup copy of all work which you send to your tutor for marking. Please do not rely on email or the forums as a way to organize your work.

Organizing your notes and tasks
Decide on how you will make and keep personal notes as you work through this module.

You may like to begin a Google doc or purchase a notebook or ring binder to file your work and keep it organised.

There are some worksheets to complete through the module but most of the tasks will be notes sent via email or the Crafting Forum.

Sharing with the UH community
The Crafting Forum and the private Facebook group are great places to ask questions and share your thoughts with your tutor and the other students, about any of your crafting work and experiences. Please feel free to use them.

Many of your assessed tasks will be submitted to the Crafting Forum to allow for discussion with other students, to encourage deeper engagement and learning.

Simple equipment
Throughout the Crafting module, you will only need to use common kitchen materials. There is a full unit regarding herb crafting equipment but you will quickly come to realize that many items in your kitchen can be used in multi-functional ways. This saves time, money and resources.

Three common kitchen items which can be used for the recipes in this module are the small used but cleaned glass jars, a wooden spoon and a small saucepan.

The recipes in the module are designed for use in small spaces, so homes or kitchens with little space and with minimal equipment. A small metro kitchen in an Amsterdam apartment was used to write the recipes and they have since been tested in many another simple homes. The recipes can be scaled up if required.

You will also learn that it is perfectly possible to make many herbal preparations outside.

Healthy respect for herbs
Herbs have an important place in today's healthcare although their misuse can also cause great harm. Anyone using herbs, either self harvested, purchased or prescribed, needs to be sensible and cautious.

Always avoid overuse, only use herbs when necessary and safe, otherwise they may cause unwanted effects.

In the module you will learn that some herbs interact with conventional medicines. For instance St John's Wort, can reduce the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill and interacts with several other medicines.

Be aware that not all herbs are helpful. Some are very strong or poisonous in regular doses.

Also be aware that herbs should be used in a holistic way. This means that rather than looking for a herbal cream as a quick solution for an issue such as eczema, we should look at the whole (holistic) picture. What is the cause of the eczema and how could herbs possibly help to balance the whole system. Could a cleansing tea help? Relaxation? Avoiding toxins? Herbs should not be used as a quick fix, they are better used as part of a holistic approach to health.

Incorporating common, local nourishing herbs into our lives does not mean that we should turn away from modern medicine. Always consult a medical professional before treating yourself with herbs.

Elderberries

Empowerment
Learning how to craft simple, safe and effective preparations with herbs can be incredibly empowering. It can help us to become more involved in managing your own health.

When able to create some helpful preparations, we are better able to help ourselves more often, by using simple nourishing herbs for minor ailments.

Being able to craft our own holistic herbal preparations, makes us active participants in keeping healthy and happy.

As mentioned in the Healing module, the Wise Woman way involves nourishment and seeking answers within ourselves, as well as seeking external help when needed.

Please add any notes which you find useful, to your personal Crafting notes. There are no Assessed Tasks for this Welcome Unit.

Move onto Crafting 1 - History of Herbalism

Growing Course – Welcome

Small water garden - Bali

Course Content:

  • Easy to Grow Herbs
  • Planning, Planting and Nurturing your Herb Garden.
  • Gardening in Public Spaces
  • Powerful Perennials
  • Evergreen Herbs
  • Indoor Herbs
  • Plant Guilds
  • Vertical Herb Gardening
  • Themed Herb Gardens

I regularly add new units to each course. If you would like a particular topic added, let me know through the forums.

Everyone has Green Fingers
Whether you are a keen gardener or not, this module will help you to plan, plant and nurture your own herb garden. Keeping your own needs and values in mind, we will look at the options available to you, wherever you live. You will learn how to realize your ideal herb garden for as little cost as possible. Please don't be concerned if you have not gardened before. Everyone can have a go and practice makes you better and better. The plants are actually quite forgiving of mistakes and if it all goes completely wrong, you can always compost your dead herbs 🙂

Healthy Life Skill
I sincerely feel that gardening is a basic life skill. It connects us with the land around us, however clean or mucky it is and it is deeply centering. soil and plants grounds us. Working in the green has long been thought to have the power to nourish, calm and transform. There are enough anecdotes of people feeling better after time pottering around in a garden but now, thanks to the field of horticultural therapy, a rich research base can support claims of gardening's health benefits.

Gardening provides space for us to think, to clear the clutter from our minds and focus on the here and now. Gardening mindfully is a beautiful, healing thing and the clarity it provides can help us to make positive changes in our lives.

Valerian, great for damp ground.

Save by Gardening
Another welcome benefit is that growing our own herbs, even a small amount, is that it can certainly save you money. This course will help to focus your attention on herbs which are more expensive or a little exotic and harder to come by than most. By growing these, not only will you build a feeling of satisfaction but you will also have low cost access to some special tastes and remedies.

Love your Neighbourhood
Social cohesion and reduction in local crime are two further welcome side effects of gardening. When we start to garden in the streets outside of our homes, we become a catalyst for social contact. Street gardening creates a fresh reason to speak with neighbours, it can creates patches of kitchen herbs for everyone in the street to share and it makes the place look loved.

River of Herbs volunteer gardeners at Frankendael orchards, summer 2017

Attractive, greened streets have lower crime rates. Research shows that identical urban areas with less greenery located around the buildings, have higher domestic crime rates and burglaries. Logical as green areas just look better, more friendly and loved but quite surprising none the less! Other research shows that just half an hour of gardening a week can greatly benefit the body and mind.

Gardening is real work, rewarding work and it is healthy!

Lynn pruning an old pear tree at the River of Herbs orchards - adopted from Amsterdam council.

Let Gardening into Your Life
I don't know about you but I need gardening in my life. Wherever I have lived, I have quickly made opportunities to grow and care for green edibles. My first memories of gardening are from over 40 years ago when I was 4, growing Radishes on the kitchen windowsill with my grandfather. The taste of those radishes was not really for me at the time but oh, how amazing it was to grow food! From those little seeds came the most beautiful plants!

Instantly hooked, I moved steadily through growing giant Marrows and Sunflowers, Calendula and Lupin in our Bristol garden All manner of herbs and bizarre vegetables have grown in my pots and gardening plots since them but herbs remain my favourites. Most herbs are easy to grow because they generally prefer simple conditions and I can harvest what I need without destroying the whole plant.

Practical Plants
I cannot imagine life without plants surrounding me , especially edible plants. Ornamental plants have never really attracted me but they do of course have a place. This course is about what I would call practical plants, ones you can use and mainly edible and medicinal herbs. If you need to have ornamental plants around you, please don't let me stop you. Welcome them in your herb garden and enjoy the show!

All plants have a purpose, whether for food, medicine, soil health, shelter, dyes or simply to look good and put a smile on your face.

What are your first memories of gardening? Did you grow edibles as a child? Did you have a garden? Do share your memories in the Gardening Forum.

Whatever your experience and thoughts on the subject, I hope to inspire you to grow more herbs. So let's start by planning what to include in your herb garden:

Raised herb planter, Oxfordshire.

Jump to Growing 1 to begin working through this module.

Healing Course – Welcome

Turmeric and Ginger Jamu, Bali. Nourishing, anti-inflammatory magic in a cup.

This Welcome Unit aims to:
Introduce the contents of the Urban Herbology Healing module, the concept of Wise Woman system of healing and how it may be useful to us. It also explains how to work through the module.

After completing this unit you should be able to:
- State the main topic areas which this module covers.
- State how your work for this module will be assessed.
- Organise your personal notes and assignments for this module.
- Name three different healing traditions.
- Name two key figures who have helped to promote the wise woman tradition.
- State reason why we should build good relationships with our regular healthcare providers, such as family doctors.

Read through the unit notes.
You may also like to listen to the welcome unit audio which talks about three traditions of healing.

Module organisation
There are 9 units in the Healing module.
We suggest that you aim to complete one unit per month. This will help you to complete the module within one year - if that is your target.

Initially, you will have access to Step 0 and Step 1. After you submit the unit assignments for those Steps, you will have access to the next two steps, and so on

Assessment of your Healing work
At the end of each unit in this module, there are tasks to complete. Some of these are optional tasks, which you may like to complete. Others are clearly indicated as Assessed Tasks. Your responses to the Assessed Tasks need to be shared with your tutor for marking and feedback.

There are four points in the Healing module, where you will only be able to progress to the next units, when the previous unit assessments have been successfully completed and marked by your tutor. This is to ensure that you have understood the earlier work.

Course Certificate
To qualify for your Urban Herbology Healing certificate, you need to :
1. Work through each of the Healing units and successfully complete all of the Assessed Tasks. These must be completed and marked as a pass by your tutor.
2. Submit a summary to your tutor, of how your journey through the Healing module has impacted you. Your summary does not need to be very long but it needs to show me what you have gained from this module. It can be in several forms (short report, poetry, drawing with annotations etc).

How to share Assessed Tasks
Some of your assessments are shared with your tutor though the Healing Forum and other assessments will be shared with your tutor via email.

Please ensure that each task states the unit number and name, when you send it through.

We strongly advise you to keep a backup copy of all work which you send to your tutor for marking. Please do not rely on email or the forums as a way to organize your work.

Organizing your notes and tasks
Decide on how you will make and keep personal notes as you work through this module.

You may like to begin a Google doc or purchase a notebook or ring binder to file your work and keep it organised.

There are some worksheets to complete through the module but most of the tasks will be notes sent via email or the Healing Forum.

Sharing with the UH community
The Healing Forum and the private Facebook group are great places to ask questions and share your thoughts with your tutor and the other students, about any of your foraging work and experiences. Please feel free to use them.

Some of your assessed tasks will be submitted to the Healing Forum to allow for discussion with other students, to encourage deeper engagement and learning.


Wise Woman System of Healing
This is a traditional, logical and intuitive way to maintain health or restore balance and well being. It doesn't expect other people or pills to be able to fix all of our problems. The Wise Woman System of Healing promotes self empowerment, networking, learning, listening and prevention of ill health.

This is an age old system of healing but it is most associated with modern wise woman such as Susun Weed and Robin Rose Bennett. Both are based in the US and both have written and worked extensively to raise the profile of the Wise Woman Tradition. Links to some of their work is below.

There is also a links below to Steve Brill who works in a similar way (also in the US) and Glennie Kindred, who I have also worked with and lives in the UK.

Susun Weed/ (Woodstock, NY)
Book: Healing Wise (1989)
You Tube - WiseWomanCenter - Ash Tree Publishing.
You will find a wealth of information between those three links.

A nourishing path: Lime (Linden) trees.

Robin Rose Bennett ( NYC)
Glennie Kindred (UK)
Wildman Steve Brill (NYC)

Assessed Task 1
Write a list of people who can help you with advice and practical help. Include their name and contact details.

Possibilities to include: herbalist friends, organic herb suppliers, foragers, therapists, organic food suppliers, house repairers, Yoga teachers, healers, family doctor...

Keep a note of this list in an easy to locate place.


7 Steps of Healing
The Wise Woman system of healing advocates a progressive approach to tackling health issues. A simple way to describe this has come from Susun Weed and uses a step system to describe the pathway.

This Healing module looks at each of the steps in turn. There is a unit about each step. Here are the steps from 0 to 6:

Step 0 – Serenity Medicine - Do nothing - Go with the flow
Step 1 – Story Medicine - Collect information
Step 2 – Energy Medicine - Placebo - Mind medicine
Step 3 – Lifestyle Medicine - Nourish & Tonify
Step 4 – Herbal medicine -  Stimulate & sedate - Alternative medicine
Step 5 – Pharmaceutical medicine - Drugs - Supplements - Essential oils
Step 6 – Hi Tech medicine - Break & Enter - Mind Altering drugs

Stepping gently and sensibly
The Wise Woman approach is to look at health issues objectively. If the issue is not serious, perhaps a common cold without serious symptoms, we try to start tackling the issue at Step 0. We then set a reasonable time limit (for the cold, perhaps 2 days) and if Step 0 approaches do not make a difference by the end of that time, then we move on to the Step 1.

Again, we set a reasonable time limit for trying out some Step 1 approaches and if those don't work, we may then want to move up to Step 2 approaches - but only if needed. We could carry on in this way, using progressively more intense methods, to try to help with the cold to go away, until it goes away or is resolved.

Sometimes stepping fast!
Sometimes emergency help is essential and taking time to work through the steps would be irresponsible and could even be life threatening.

Knowledge of the Wise Woman Healing Steps can still help us in some such cases. This post on Lynn's blog is an example of how the Wise Woman Tradition helped her when a health situation seemed completely out of her hands.

The core aim of the Wise Woman system is try simple approaches to try to solve problems ourselves and not to jump in with overzealous approaches to health care, without at least thinking about.

What about regular health care?
Many people run to the doctor to solve such minor issues but the approach here, is to choose to work through the Wise Woman steps, to try and ourselves first, before making an appointment with a doctor.

This module is certainly not attempting to persuade anyone to stop visiting their doctor! We should welcome good relationships with our family doctors and be happy to consult their teams when help is needed.

Generally those in the medical profession are excellently trained and have great knowledge. We must remember that some visits to doctors surgeries, for seemingly minor complaints, can help to detect very serious diseases.

This module is not to discourage anyone from visiting their doctor. It is simply aiming to encourage people to try to help themselves first, before dashing to the doctor, especially when the dis-ease is minor.


Three Traditions of Healing
Below are brief outlines of three ways of looking at health care provision. The Wise Woman Tradition, Heroic Tradition and the Scientific Tradition.

As you read through the outlines, think of healthcare provision that you may have used which fit into any categories.

Wise Woman Tradition
Mainly focuses on steps 0, 1, 2, 3.
Do nothing, story medicine, mind medicine, lifestyle.
Quiet and almost invisible system of healing
Self care, nourishment, listening carefully and lifestyle.

Heroic Tradition
Usually relies on steps 4 and 5.
Herbal medicine to stimulate or sedate, supplements, essential oils etc.
Practitioners holding all the power.
Healing is done to the patient by a healer.
Dependence rather than empowerment.

Scientific Tradition
Focused on steps 5 and 6.
Strong medicine, breaking and entering.
Essential at times.
Suspicious of unproven remedies.
Seeks scientific evidence as proof of effectiveness.

VU hospital, Amsterdam. Scientific Tradition.

Assessed Task 2
a) How comfortable are you with each of the healing traditions which are outlined in this unit?
b) Where do you usually prefer to be when you need to solve a health issue? So which tradition(s) do you seem to favour the most?

There is no judgement here, simply acknowledge where you feel safe and what you prefer.

Please send some personal notes about Tasks 1 and 2 to Lynn via email.

When you are ready, click on Healing - Step 0 to begin your journey in the Wise Woman Tradition.

Foraging Course – Welcome!

This Welcome Unit aims to:
Introduce the contents of the Urban Herbology Foraging module, the concept of urban foraging and outlines why the Foraging module focuses upon foraging urban herbs rather than other urban plants. It also explains how to work through the module.

At the end of the unit you should be able to:
- State the main topic areas which this module covers.
- State how your work for this module will be assessed.
- Organise your personal notes and assignments for this module.
- Briefly explain the concept of an Edible City.
- Define what a herb is.
- List three reasons why herb foraging may be preferable to regular foraging.

Read through the unit notes.
You may also like to listen to the welcome unit audio.

In the Foraging Module you will learn:
-How to forage safely and ethically
-A selection of practical ways to use foraged herbs
-Characteristics of nine plant families which are very useful to foragers
-Essential botany to help foragers identify plants
-An extensive list of plants which are useful to foragers
-How to actually forage the herbs
-About one plant in great detail - your Plant Ally
-The main poisonous plants and families

Module organisation
There are 28 units in the Foraging module.

You will see that the units are visually organised in blocks of five units. We suggest that you aim to complete each green block (so five units) per two months. This will help you to complete the module within one year - if that is your target.

Please note that some of the later units are available to you from the start but most will open up as you work through progressively.

Assessment of your Foraging work
At the end of each unit in this module, there are tasks to complete. Some of these are optional tasks, which you may like to complete. Others are clearly indicated as Assessed Tasks. Your responses to the Assessed Tasks need to be shared with your tutor for marking and feedback.

There are four points in the Foraging module, where you will only be able to progress to the next units, when the previous unit assessments have been successfully completed and marked by your tutor. This is to ensure that you have understood the earlier work.

Course Certificate
To qualify for your Urban Herbology Foraging certificate, you need to :
1. Work through each of the Foraging units and successfully complete all of the Assessed Tasks. These must be completed and marked as a pass by your tutor.
2. Submit a summary to your tutor, of how your journey through the Foraging module has impacted you. Your summary does not need to be very long but it needs to show me what you have gained from this module. It can be in several forms (short report, poetry, drawing with annotations etc).

How to share Assessed Tasks
Some of your assessments are shared with your tutor though the Foraging Forum and other assessments will be shared with your tutor via email.

Please ensure that each task states the unit number and name, when you send it through.

We strongly advise you to keep a backup copy of all work which you send to your tutor for marking. Please do not rely on email or the forums as a way to organize your work.

Organizing your notes and tasks
Decide on how you will make and keep personal notes as you work through this module.

You may like to begin a Google doc or purchase a notebook or ring binder to file your work and keep it organised.

There are some worksheets to complete through the module but most of the tasks will be notes sent via email or the Foraging Forum.

Sharing with the UH community
The Foraging Forum and the private Facebook group are great places to ask questions and share your thoughts with your tutor and the other students, about any of your foraging work and experiences. Please feel free to use them.

Many of your assessed tasks will be submitted to the Foraging Forum to allow for discussion with other students, to encourage deeper engagement and learning.

Lynn harvesting Tansy for herbal mosquito repellent.

Edible cities
I believe that cities should be edible environments and that city dwellers should know how to care for and use the plants. My dream is for streets to be planted with edible fruit, nut and leaf trees. In many places, this is already happening to some extent but we can do so much more! Buildings such as schools and hospitals could be obliged to incorporate fruit bushes and other edibles in their planting schemes. What a difference that could make.

If more Urbanites understood how to forage safely and sustainably, they could help to nurture the whole ecosystem and create far healthier and more pleasant places in which to live. I believe that increased urban foraging will act as a driver to further clean and improve towns and cities. When you eat from an area, you want it to be clean...

Since talking about this in a TEDx talk a few years ago, I feel that the tide is really turning and many people, all over the world are jumping on board and asking for change or creating the change themselves. This is wonderful.

If we want edible towns and cities to become a reality, we must take action and help it to drive the idea forward!

Magnolia: Edible flowers and medicinal leaves, in the middle of the city.

Urban Foraging Today
How much free food grows in your town? There are hundreds of edible species growing in Amsterdam and most other cities.

Some of my favorites are: Nettles, Elderberries, Apples, Lime leaves, Hazelnuts, Ginkgo nuts, Blackberry shoots, Ground Elder leaves, Rosehips and Cleavers.

I forage a little something from the city almost every day of the year. It connects me to the seasons, the local landscape, enriches my diet and it's a great way to meet interesting people!

Photo credit: NinasNature.com A foraging walk in Amsterdam with Lynn.

Just a pinch of herbs
Herbs are generally defined as plants, or parts of a plant, which are used for medicine or for cooking. They may be strongly flavoured or scented plants which help the digestion or they may improve the flavour of meals. They may be medicinal and very helpful for making simple home remedies.

Generally, when we think of a herb, we think of a plant that we only need to harvest a small amount of. Perhaps just a few leaves of Sage to add to a meal or brew up a cup of tea.

This light harvesting reduces environmental impact and reduces the risk of poisoning and eating polluted plants.

Urban foragers should focus on finding "herbs" rather than "vegetables".
Focusing on local herbs increases our creativity, it reduces negative environmental impact and it promotes understanding of the plants which grow in urban areas.

Chickweed (Stellaria media): Source of year-round vitamins and minerals.

How clean is our food?
Where does our food really come from? How clean is it? Who has handled it? How processed is it? I wonder how many of these questions we can answer with certainty?

City foraging does have risks. We need to consider urban pollution, local laws, poisonous plants and other factors. I like to take responsibility for at least a small proportion of my family’s diet and I look after the land where some of my foraged herbs grow.

Urban Foraging is increasingly popular so it is important that we understand how to do it safely and ethically.

Please add any notes which you find useful, to your personal Foraging notes. There are no Assessed Tasks for this Welcome Unit.

Move onto Foraging 1 - Ethical Foraging Rules